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Old February 27, 2012, 01:24 PM   #1
Bartholomew Roberts
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Man Claims Self-Defense, Charged With Murder

Cortez Waller of Conway, Arkansas shot Chris Childress in front of his girlfriend and children outside of a police station in Conway in 2010. The entire shooting was captured on video.

Based on several different news reports both after the shooting and during the trial, Waller had been sleeping with Childress's girlfriend and the mother of his 3 children. Childress had accused Waller of following the girlfriend and had threatened Waller on several occasions.

In the video, you can see Waller pulling up to the police station as Childress boxes him in with a truck and jumps out of the truck and comes running at Waller who has exited his vehicle. Waller shoots Childress multiple times with a .45. Waller then enters the police station and attempts to find someone at the lobby. After not finding anyone, he begins to leave and is arrested by two officers. He was subsequently charged with murder and claimed self-defense during his trial. After nine hours of deliberation, a jury acquitted Waller on self-defense grounds.

I thought this was worth talking about in Tactics and Training because we have both a video of the initial shooting and the news reports both immediately after the shooting and throughout the trial. As a result, we have a great deal of detail we don't normally have in these cases. I also thought it was a good case to discuss because either one of the men had the oppotunity to avoid this situation by using better tactics. If you are Waller, how do you avoid shooting a guy who may be an actual threat to you; but who is arguably provoked by your behavior? If you are Childress, how do you deal with this threat, without putting you and your family in danger?
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Old February 27, 2012, 01:49 PM   #2
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DGU Rule #1 Don't get involved in some womans messed up drama filled life. Sounds like the woman may have been the center of the problems revolving around this whole thing. Ask any cop, domestic situations are the most dangerous situations they respond to on a day per day basis.


Mr. Waller was cut off from his only possible means of escape, driving off or running into the police station when Childress rushed him. I don't know what Childress expected to happen but I probably would have done the same in the situation. The moral of this story? Keep your life simple and stay away from women who love causing drama.

Last edited by Frank Ettin; February 27, 2012 at 03:16 PM. Reason: language
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Old February 27, 2012, 02:05 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Patriot86
stay away from women who love causing drama.
Words I live by.
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Old February 27, 2012, 02:13 PM   #4
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I'm struck by a couple things in the video. The police really man-handled the shooter during the arrest. Not that I probably wouldn't do the same as a cop, but it just goes to show that you should probably expect a few knees in the back and maybe being shoved against a wall if you are involved in a shooting.

Second, it feels like forever before someone finally gets around to providing medical treatment to the guy that was shot. An interesting look at a real life shooting.
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Old February 27, 2012, 02:16 PM   #5
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I concur. Few things can screw up your life quicker than a relationship with a drama queen. Or, as a T-shirt I saw at the last gun show read: "No matter how good she looks, never forget that somewhere out there is a guy who's tired of her B.S.!"
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Old February 27, 2012, 02:33 PM   #6
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The police really man-handled the shooter during the arrest.
That. The man walked into the police station to give himself in! I find such violent arrest totally uncalled for.
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Old February 27, 2012, 02:43 PM   #7
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That. The man walked into the police station to give himself in! I find such violent arrest totally uncalled for.
To be fair to the police, they can't read the man's mind to know WHY he is in the police station. All they know is that he shot a man multiple times in the parking lot and is now coming into the police station. People have walked into police stations and started shooting in the past, so I can understand why they might be concerned and aggressive. The outcome could certainly have been a lot worse for Waller than a few scrapes in that scenario.
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Old February 27, 2012, 02:44 PM   #8
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Well all they know is that there's a wanna be Terminator in the building.
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Old February 27, 2012, 03:13 PM   #9
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Well, to be honest at that moment in time it appeared that Waller did what he had to do to protect himself. He apparently was being pursued and actually drove to a Police Station where he was confronted. So, from a purely tactical standpoint I am not sure what he could have done differently. Maybe you could make the argument that he should have stayed in the car and driven away, but where was he going to go after all he was already at the Police station. I suppose he could have stayed in the car and called 911 and waited for help.

While his behavior most likely contributed to the situation it was his legal right to protect himself. We can argue all day about moral issues, but that is not what the judicial system is here for.
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Old February 27, 2012, 03:22 PM   #10
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For Childress

If there was a doubt about whether or not his wife was sleeping with this guy I think a private detective to determine the facts would have been better than taking a bullet.

If his wife wasn't sleeping with Waller and was being harrassed by him, a restraining order would have been better than taking a bullet.

If his wife was sleeping with Waller a divorce lawyer would have been better than taking a bullet.

And the other moral of this story is never bring a fist to a gun fight.

For Waller:

Quote:
Don't get involved in some womans 'messed' up drama filled life
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Old February 27, 2012, 03:40 PM   #11
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I can't say that any of the three principals in this drama - the shooter, the dead guy, or the woman - are gems. But in the video, Childress appears to be the aggressor. Regardless of what went on in the days or weeks before, Waller drove up to a police station (perhaps to get help because of Childress's pursuit?) and Childress blocked in his car with his own and rushed him. The fact that it all happened in front of his children was the choice of Childress, not Waller.

There are a lot of questions that could still be asked after reading the provided news reports, like whether Waller made any previous threats towards Childress during their love-triangle, but the video speaks loudly of self defense in the context of those few minutes surrounding the shooting itself. In those few minutes of going to the police station, defending against an aggressor, and immediately turning himself in, I see nothing to fault Waller for.

As for the comments about the police roughing Waller up, I have to say I didn't see anything objectionable. We should all expect to be proned out and cuffed if we have to shoot; the police need to secure everything until they can figure out what is what and who is whom. And perhaps we should also take this as a reminder that even if our justifiable action is caught on video, we might yet go all the way to a trial.
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Old February 27, 2012, 03:49 PM   #12
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If the dude didn't display a weapon then the killer murdered someone because he was afraid of an ass whooping. I didn't see or hear all of the evidence, but when is it acceptable to gun someone down on a city street? To me it looked like a coward committed murder. Besides, screwing around with someone's woman is grounds for an ass whooping. Right?
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Old February 27, 2012, 04:02 PM   #13
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waller saw childress getting out of the car and approaching him and he got out of his car before he even put it in park and shot childress within point blank range waller should be charged with murder
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Old February 27, 2012, 04:22 PM   #14
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Wow, what a mess. If Childress had a weapon (the responses indcate maybe a knife was involved?), it was pretty clearly self defense. Chases him in the van, cuts him off and rushes at him?? But if there was no weapon??? That was a pretty fast reaction - maybe he was already ready? Have to wonder.

Bad decisions by the deceased, even without a weapon you can't let anger get the better of you becasue you never know. But for the shooter, I'd have stayed in the car and locked the doors and tried to avoid the confrontation, have the gun ready but just not get out. I didn't see as to why they were both rushing to the police station - did the guy already threaten him once and the shooter went there for protection??? Had he been chasing him all over town?

What really gets to me is not the shooting itself but the family response to the father lying there. Really sad.

As to the police response, you bet they will throw you down and ask questions afterwards. I deal with juveniles, mostly young women, and if they feel they are armed they would get the same treatment.
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Old February 27, 2012, 04:26 PM   #15
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I dug around in the Faulkner County docket on this case. Unfortunately, the pleadings don't contain a lot of factual information that would be useful in the T&T context. What I can tell you is: (1) the defense filed motions to suppress and in limine; and (2) at the close of the case, the defense filed a Motion to have the defendant's pistol returned to him. For some reason, I can download some of the orders in the case, but I cannot open them once downloaded. As an interesting aside, the pistol was a Hi-point.
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Old February 27, 2012, 04:35 PM   #16
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waller saw childress getting out of the car and approaching him and he got out of his car before he even put it in park and shot childress within point blank range waller should be charged with murder
He was charged with murder and acquitted. What do you think Waller should have done differently? Should he have stayed in his car as has been suggested?

I wonder how Waller was carrying his firearm. Was he using a holster? Was it in the console? Could he have drawn while staying seated in his car?
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Old February 27, 2012, 04:44 PM   #17
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waller saw childress getting out of the car and approaching him and he got out of his car before he even put it in park and shot childress within point blank range waller should be charged with murder
I don't think you understand. He was charged with murder and acquitted because he shot in self defense against Childress.

I can see this having gone either way. On one hand you have Childress chasing down Waller who fled to the police station, boxed him in, charged him and Waller could definitely be in fear for his life.

I can also see the argument that force, but not lethal force would have been warranted as Childress apparently had no weapons and didn't attempt to use his vehicle as a weapon.

We don't hear the words that were exchanged, but apparently Waller's team was able to present a clear enough case of Waller being in fear for his life. I don't have a problem with the verdict given what was on the videos.

Quote:
If you are Childress, how do you deal with this threat, without putting you and your family in danger?
You are kidding about this question, right? It is rhetorical? You don't chase down people with your car in anger and have your family inside.
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Old February 27, 2012, 04:55 PM   #18
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still even though Childress boxed Waller in and approached in a threatening manner he was still unarmed...that doesn't give Waller the right to kill a defenseless man that just proves hes a coward for screwing around with another mans wife and afraid to take an a** woopin like a man instead he shoots him and gets away with murder by pleading self defense just because someone chases you and blocks you in and comes charging at you doesn't mean you shoot and kill them then plead in self defense
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Old February 27, 2012, 05:13 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Double Naught Spy
You are kidding about this question, right? It is rhetorical? You don't chase down people with your car in anger and have your family inside.
Yes, that's a given. I was thinking more about how to deal with the alleged stalking behavior by Waller in a way that doesn't give said stalker the opportunity to shoot you multiple times. A restraining order wouldn't do much to stop it; but it would have been a good first step.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GlockedNLoaded32
still even though Childress boxed Waller in and approached in a threatening manner he was still unarmed...that doesn't give Waller the right to kill a defenseless man that just proves hes a coward for screwing around with another mans wife and afraid to take an a** woopin like a man instead he shoots him and gets away with murder by pleading self defense just because someone chases you and blocks you in and comes charging at you doesn't mean you shoot and kill them then plead in self defense
Typically, the standard is that you can use deadly force in self-defense if a reasonable person would be in immediate fear of death or serious injury in that situation.

A grown man can certainly cause death or serious injury, even if unarmed. And even if Waller had been willing to take the chance that Childress would be satisfied with a "light" beating, he may not have wanted to take the chance Childress would gain control of his .45 Hi-Point in that highly emotional state. Apparently Waller's attorney was able to make that case to the jury. Definitely something to think about next time you decide some other citizen needs "an a** woopin."
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Old February 27, 2012, 05:24 PM   #20
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I do see you point but from my stand point if i was in wallers situation i would not shoot an unarmed man no matter how agressive childress was... I guess that's just because im a decent size guy who has self defense training and a much more leveled head...but yes waller could have gone another route before it got to that point he could have called 911 and made a report that childress was following him and was threatening him and go from there or place a restraining order against him... but to shoot an unarmed man in the street in front of his kids ans girlfriend is just morally wrong to me...
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Old February 27, 2012, 05:33 PM   #21
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Such a shame. Its easy to armchair qb but you never really know till its you. The woman tries to make it sound like the shooter was stalking her. Guess I woulda been upset to.
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Old February 27, 2012, 05:40 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GlockedNLoded32
I do see you point but from my stand point if i was in wallers situation i would not shoot an unarmed man no matter how agressive childress was...I guess that's just because im a decent size guy who has self defense training and a much more leveled head . . . .
I can't get to youtube from work to watch the video, so I'll beg your indulgence if I'm guessing at things that would be obvious (if I could see the video).

What I don't know at this point is: Did Waller know that Childress was unarmed? I'm a very level-headed guy, but my simply "takin' a whoopin'" ain't in the cards. I'm too old to brawl, and too fat to run. Once an aggressor gets a few licks in, there's the possiblity that: (a) the aggressor could get ahold of my CCW and make the situation go from bad to horrific; or (b) the aggressor could arm himself some other way. . . . again, bad to horrific.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GlockedNLoded32
... but to shoot an unarmed man in the street in front of his kids ans girlfriend is just morally wrong to me...
Again, did Waller know that Childress was unarmed? If the allegations are true, that Waller had been playing patty-fingers with Childress' girlfriend, . . . or even if Waller knew of the allegations, and Childress had threatened him, as BR states in the OP, then Waller may have had a reasonable fear of death or serious bodily harm.
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Old February 27, 2012, 05:42 PM   #23
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Some are of the apparent opinion that if you mess with someone else's woman it is open season on you. First off, a woman is not a possession - she had a choice, too. Secondly, the repeated description of her as the wife of Childress is incorrect - she appears to be a long-time girlfriend who has borne him children, but they were not married, and she was unfaithful with at least one other man - the shooter.

It is an ugly situation with an unmarried woman bearing children to (apparently) one man and choosing to sleep with another. Society works better when certain boundaries are respected. No halos are in sight. But I don't see how anyone in this mess should be expected to waive the right to self defense, and I see no reason in law or reasonable behavior that Childress should expect to take physical revenge on his girlfriend's other lover with no restraint or consequences.
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Old February 27, 2012, 05:43 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GlockedNLoaded32
I do see you point but from my stand point if i was in wallers situation i would not shoot an unarmed man no matter how agressive childress was...
Looking at the video, Waller and Childress roll up to the parking spot around 0:23 seconds (both having run the stop sign in front of the police station). Both begin to exit their vehicles around 0:26 seconds. By 0:30 seconds, the shooting is over and Childress is down.

So best case scenario, Waller had 4 seconds to see whether the guy exiting the SUV and coming around the corner of the parked car had a weapon in his hands. Just playing devil's advocate here; but if the guy has already threatened you in the past, and has now chased you through a stop sign up to the doors of a police station, and has exited his vehicle and coming at you even after you've pointed a gun at him - how much time do you want to spend on whether he has a visible weapon?

If nothing else, the video is a good example of how fast these things happen. They also show why working out some general strategies BEFORE you find yourself in trouble is so effective.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Isk
Second, it feels like forever before someone finally gets around to providing medical treatment to the guy that was shot.
According to one of the reports, one of the shots was in the side of the head. So that may have played a role in the delay until he got medical treatment.

Last edited by Bartholomew Roberts; February 27, 2012 at 05:48 PM.
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Old February 27, 2012, 05:53 PM   #25
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In watching the video, two things occur to me:

(1) It does not appear to me that the officers were overly aggressive in apprehending the suspect. They have absolutely NO IDEA what has transpired or what he is about other than they think he shot someone. If you are the police, do you have any other choice but to treat every shooter with equal force, hands up or not? However, it apparently takes at least SIX officers to get this guy. Four rush in after the guy is already face down, handcuffed, and does not appear to really be resisting or a threat.

(2) Meanwhile, the officers and other personnel do absolutely everything BUT help the guy who is bleeding out in the parking lot. They run up and down the street, they look inside the vehicles, they console the girlfriend, they chase after the white car, etc., but NEVER attend to the guy. While there are at least SIX officers on the "bad guy," there are ZERO officers with the dying "good guy." Now that is frightening.
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